Disney is a veritable pop-culture behemoth, and has been nearly since the company’s inception in the early 20th century. Mickey Mouse and his gang were, for a long time, the characters most frequently associated with the Disney name but in the last twenty years, this has changed. Mickey is still popular, to be sure, but the Disney Princess franchise – first created in the 1990s, and building on the traditional princesses with regular new additions at the release of each new movie – has taken off so successfully that the princesses have almost become the public faces of Disney itself.
The popularity of the princesses has engendered a strange fascination with artists showcasing classic Disney princesses in unusual ways. Many of these are cute and endearing, while others are a bit more risqué. Still others are downright strange. But, because most of these are diffused online – and the internet’s not happy unless it regularly gets to feast on what’s left of your childhood – some of these artists’ interpretations of Disney princesses are so soul-scarringly horrifying that you’ll never be able to watch Sleeping Beauty again without crying softly into your pillow as you silently mourn a world where innocence and purity no longer exist.
Perhaps we’re being a tad hyperbolic. Regardless, much of what you’re about to see is a long cry from how you’re used to seeing these classic Disney princesses. Keep in mind, too, that none of these interpretations are in any way sanctioned by Disney. So, when the nightmares inevitably come – and you better believe they will – don’t go crying to Disney for ruining your childhood. Instead, go ahead and curse humanity in general because, one way or another, we’re all responsible for atrocities like these Disney princesses…
20. As Miley Cyrus
One question comes to mind: why? Just, why?!? Artist Michele Moricci created these pieces in 2013 and the world has been just a little darker ever since. Miley Cyrus isn’t exactly a stellar role model to begin with, and now that Disney princesses have adopted her mannerisms and fashion sensibilities, there doesn’t seem to much hope for the little girls of the world. This one could be interpreted as a clever social commentary, of course, as Cyrus herself was a Disney ‘princess’ before it all went wrong.
19. As Hipsters
Hipsters. The word alone strikes fear into the hearts of good, decent people the world over. But artist Emmanuel Viola wanted to see what the Disney princesses looked like with a hipster makeover and the results are, well, actually pretty cool-looking. Though they all still have that distinctive hipster “Stare of Judgement” thing going on.
18. As Avatar: The Last Airbender Characters
You’d be forgiven if your only knowledge of Avatar: The Last Airbender was as the awful movie that became the (hopefully) final nail in the coffin of M. Night Shyamalan‘s film-making career. But it was actually a very popular television series before M. Night got his destructive fingers around its neck.
Artist Robby Cook decided to create a mashup featuring Disney princesses with powers from the popular show because why not? The results are pretty cool.
17. As ‘Real Life’ Girls
Artist Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen (say that five times fast – hell, one time fast) decided to makeover classic Disney princesses but in a way that made them look as realistic as possible. The realistic images are so good they look like they could be photographs, albeit with annoying Instagram filters applied. But, still, pretty great.
16. As American Horror Story: Freak Show Characters
The popularity of FX’s American Horror Story anthology is partially rooted in our collective desire to be thoroughly traumatized. And AHS: Freak Show doesn’t disappoint on that front. The show is characteristically disturbing. Artist iamdizzco decided to compound our revulsion by depicting the show’s more distinctive freaks as famous Disney princesses. Mission accomplished, iamdizzco. We’re freaked out.
15. With Realistic Waistlines
Disney princesses are role models for hundreds of millions of little girls all over the world. And for the most part, they’re pretty good people to look up to: they’re honest, smart, confident, and increasingly independent. However, many people still take issue with the unrealistic body image the princesses project onto their acolytes.
Loryn Brantz decided to portray the princesses with more realistic waistlines and the results only serve to highlight the absurdity of the princesses’ original figures.
14. If They Went to Your High School
The folks at CollegeHumor decided to have a little fun and see what the princesses would have been like in high school. The results? Rapunzel was the stoner, Jasmine was the Queen Bee, and Ariel was the girl who gets a boyfriend and immediately stops hanging out with all her friends. As for Snow White, well, let’s just say her tattoos speak for themselves.
13. As Breast Cancer Survivors
This is obviously one of the more shocking entries on this list. No one expects to see a topless, post-mastectomy Snow White flashing a peace sign. But Alexsandro Palombo’s art is both a sobering reminder of the dangers of breast cancer and an empowering tribute to the strength of women everywhere.
12. As Game of Thrones Characters
On a lighter note, artist DjeDjehuti decided to have a little fun and combine two of the most pervasive pop-culture phenomena in the world: Disney princesses and Game of Thrones. The results are spectacular. Elsa as Daenerys (along with Mushu as one of her dragons) is particularly inspired.
11. As Victims of Domestic Abuse
Remember when we said we’d scar you? Artist Saint Hoax created a campaign called “Happily Never After” featuring a series of posters depicting famous Disney princesses as the victims of violent domestic abuse and the tagline, “When did he stop treating you like a princess?” The effect is jarring. The artists says she hopes it will help victims of abuse reach out and get the help they need to leave their destructive relationships.
10. As Famous Superheroines
Now, to restore a little bit of your faith in humanity, artist Isaiah Stephens opted to depict the princesses as famous superheroes. All of them are pretty cool, but Snow White as Wonder Woman and Ariel as Black Widow are probably the best.
9. As Orange is the New Black Characters
Whether you’re a fan of the show or not, you’re probably aware that Netflix’s Orange is the New Black has gained quite the following in its brief run thus far. So, it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some enterprising young artist has chosen to corrupt the heretofore wholesome images of these unsuspecting cartoon characters in tribute to the popular prison drama.
8. As Disney Princes
You’ve got to hand it to the internet. When it comes to completely destroying the preconceptions of things you love, there’s no better place than the world wide web. Case in point: Canadian artist Sakimi Chan’s disconcertingly lifelike interpretations of classic Disney princesses as princes. T he most shocking, by far, has to be Beauty and the Beast (or should we say Handsome and the Beastette? Frankly, we don’t know what to call that thing).
7. As Grumpy Cat
Because it’s the internet, and the internet only loves two things – cats and princesses – it was only a matter of time before this unholy combination of equal parts sass and cuteness saw the light of day. Artist Eric Proctor gave the world’s favorite unhappy cat the Disney princess treatment and the results were outstanding.
6. With Beards
What’s one thing Disney princesses are lacking? Well-rounded backstories? Self-worth without a man’s approval? Mothers? Well, according to one artist, the answer is simple: beards. And, like all beards not of the neck variety, these beards look pretty rockin’ on the princesses.
5. As Famous Real World Women
This one switches it up a bit. Artist David Trumble wanted to “princessify” some of the most famous and inspirational women in the real world, past and present. The results are pretty amazing, with laudable women like Susan B. Anthony, Hillary Clinton, and Rosa Parks getting the Disney treatment.
4. Being Bad
Artist José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros wanted to show the bad side of Disney princesses. Far from the curated and airbrushed images of the princesses that we’re all familiar with, Ontiveros’ art shows Disney princesses being bad, and the results are hilarious.
3. As Rocks
There’s not much to say about this. Artist Kevin Bolk chose to reimagine the famous princesses as rocks because… Well, we’re not really sure. Drugs may have been involved. But, the end result is definitely a thing. Princesses as rocks. There ya go.
2. As Victims of Domestic Sexual Abuse
This is another awareness poster campaign by Saint Hoax. In her own words, the posters are intended to be “an awareness campaign targeting minors who have been subject to sexual abuse by a family member. The aim of the poster series is to encourage victims to report their cases in order for the authorities to prevent it from happening again.”
The images are certainly upsetting, but it’s likely their shock value will get the message out, to anyone in such a terrible situation, that there are people who can help.
1. As Olaf from Frozen
Or, more accurately, Olaf as the princesses. Artist TortallMagic’s series features the popular anthropomorphic snowman from Disney’s juggernaut Frozen as various princesses, from Merida to Jasmine. But the best is Snow White. He just looks so happy.